Today a client lamented that no matter how well she prioritized, constant impingements from ‘the feed’ kept taking her attention. This is our world. No matter what job we get or freedom we attain from this or that obligation, data continues to come at us, and asks for an instant response. We buy something and we’re not done. We have to complete a survey—about the product, the merchant, the delivery service and then the survey. Could we have improved the experience of taking a survey? I’m only little bit kidding. The need for feedback seems to fold in on itself as it multiplies in some kind of quantum equation I am not qualified to generate.
Psychology + Zen = Philosophy and methods to relieve suffering and reveal happiness.
Psychology: We project onto others what we reject in ourselves. Some call it a Shadow. Healing comes from making the unconscious conscious, taking responsibility for our projections, integrating what is split off as our own thing.
Zen: There is no separate self. When we can be at one with every aspect, then we belong everywhere and we reject no one.
We heal the world by becoming intimate with our whole selves.
Sit with it, psychology supervisors would say in grad school. She needs to sit with her sadness, guilt, dilemma, etc. In practice, I learned that most clients interpret this as submitting to their inner attacker until it hurts a lot, really really enough, and then, having done their duty, getting back to what’s actually fun and lively. Fortunately, as I sat in my own meditation, I was able to clarify the process and then guide clients through it. Sitting with it means that we allow the connection between thoughts and feelings to dissolve. When they stop reinforcing each other, we are freed from repetitive loops and we can actually move on, not just push through.
But here’s the thing: When stuff feels awful, we work pretty hard at this. We get good at identifying our inner critical introjects and naming them as thoughts and not obeying them and returning to our sensation and All That. Because we want to feel better, right? But then we do. We feel better. And then we’re done, we think. No more pain. I graduated. But… then… alas. It slips away. What happened to that good feeling?
That’s the question in the air, along with
How must she feel now, Trayvon's mother? Like all mothers, I imagine she poured herself into her son, wanting him to have a satisfying life, to do good, and to make her proud. She must have imagined his future many times, many ways. It might still happen automatically now; maybe she has to stop her mind from imagining. Because how is it possible to lose a child, to really know that there is no future for Trayvon? Her son was shot dead for being in the wrong territory, for posing a threat to another man
Finishing the Boston Marathon 50 minutes before the blast, my ex-husband and father of my beloved child was well clear of the bomb that killed three, seriously injured many, and scared the crap out of a whole bunch more. Trauma proliferated as we shook our heads and huddled with our families. Thank G-d it wasn't us.
But it was.
When something troubles me, I work with it, sit with it, and play with it. This video is a play on the question of help--taking help and giving it. Beautiful dancers, Justina and CJ, improvised on questions and phrases, and this is what emerged:
A packed house, a teen nightmare, a sweet story of communion, and a deeply offensive work of not-art.
Not by Bread Alone features a troupe of deaf blind 'actors' ladling out friendly vaudevillian vignettes that feature pantomime, supertitles, and kinesthetic sign language. Also, they are baking bread. We learn that the deaf and blind "have dreams, too," dreams of love and marriage, and dreams of having hair done by a super duper stylist. Just like us.
Aghast as the movie finished, I sat in the dark watching the six other people in the theatre gathering their stuff. I think I was the only one with beige skin. If you still think that maybe we live in a just world, please try to witness the wreckage of The Central Park Five. Like most White people, I had forgotten or never much thought about what happened to the brown-skinned teenage boys who were wrongly accused of raping the White woman known as the Central Park Jogger.
Plans collapse. Last week, I planned to write a Pedestrian Plea about high art, and then the hurricane hit. This week, I planned to participate in One Lovely Blog, and then my teenager provoked another crisis. Or maybe I provoked it. Don't even talk to me if you have not raised a smart willful teenager in recent times. Yes, it is worse than it used to be. Much, much worse. Someday I'll remove the gag order I've placed on myself, but not today.